Audiences worldwide have been captivated by the sultry and sophisticated spy with a license to kill since the debut of the first James Bond movie, “Dr. No,” in 1962. The spy has killed people in the movies and outside the reel life with his charm, confidence, and physique.
Throughout 25 films, various actors have played James Bond, each with their distinct style and interpretation of the character. In this blog, we will discuss the James Bond Actors in order from the very first movie to the last on how well they did, how much of an impact they had on the franchise, and their overall legacy.
James Bond Actors in Order
There is certain to be something for everyone on this list, whether you are a fervent supporter of Sean Connery’s original performance, a fan of Daniel Craig’s gritty reboot, or Roger Moore’s playful charm. So relax, grab a martini (shaken, not stirred), and join us as we explore the world of James Bond and the actors who made him one of film history’s most enduring and memorable characters.
1. Sean Connery (1962-1967, 1971, 1983):
Since he played James Bond in the first Bond film, 1962’s “Dr. No,” Sean Connery is frequently regarded as the epitome of the character. Connery quickly won over audiences with his sophisticated demeanor, Scottish brogue, and rugged looks, and he became synonymous with the character of 007.
Connery went on to play James Bond in seven movies, including classics like “From Russia with Love” (1963), “Goldfinger,” and “Thunderball.” Although he returned to the role one more time in the unofficial film “Never Say Never Again,” his final official Bond appearance was in the 1971 film “Diamonds Are Forever”.
Connery’s Bond was well-known for his wit and charm, but he was also a formidable physical presence who could handle himself in a fight and was always prepared with a clever device or weapon. He played the role with a sense of danger and adventure that set the standard for all subsequent Bond actors.
Connery had a long and successful acting career that spanned several decades. He was a prolific and well-liked actor outside of the Bond series. He also appeared in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989), “The Hunt for Red October” (1990), and “The Rock” (1996), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. However, his most lasting and enduring legacy is his portrayal of James Bond.
2. George Lazenby (1969):
George Lazenby is a model and actor from Australia best known for his brief role as James Bond in the 1969 film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” Lazenby had only appeared in a few commercials and a brief role on the television series “Gideon’s Way,” making him a relatively unknown actor at the time.
Lazenby was chosen to replace Sean Connery as James Bond despite his lack of experience. His first and only appearance as the character was in “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.” The film departed from the usual formula for James Bond, with a more emotional plot and an emphasis on character growth.
The reviews for Lazenby’s performance as James Bond were mixed. While some praised his physicality and athleticism in the role, others criticized his lack of experience and commented that he appeared uneasy with the character’s more emotional aspects. Concerns about typecasting and a desire to pursue other acting opportunities led Lazenby, in the end, to decide not to return for another James Bond film.
Even though Lazenby only played Bond for a short time, the character has since developed into something of a cult favorite among fans of the series. Despite his inexperience, Lazenby’s role as James Bond has become a fascinating footnote in the franchise’s history. He brought a certain charm and swagger to the role.
3. Roger Moore (1973-1985):
Sir Roger Moore was a famous English actor who played James Bond in seven films from 1973 to 1985. Moore had already established himself in television with roles in shows like “The Saint” and “The Persuaders!” before taking on the role of James Bond.
A playful charm and sense of humor marked Moore’s portrayal of James Bond. The character frequently engaged in witty banter and quips that were meant to be funny. His films featured more gadgetry and outrageous action sequences than some of the earlier, more serious Bond films, demonstrating a more lighthearted approach to the character.
“Live and Let Die” (1973), which introduced Solitaire and featured a memorable Paul McCartney theme song, and “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977), which introduced Jaws and featured one of the most well-known Bond stunts ever, in which Bond skis off a cliff and uses a parachute, are two of Moore’s most well-known Bond films.
The film “A View to a Kill” (1985), Moore’s seventh and final Bond appearance, marked the end of his career. Moore remains a beloved and iconic Bond actor, and his films continue to be enjoyed by audiences worldwide, despite criticism of his age and the increasing cheesiness of the Bond franchise during his later years in the role.
4. Timothy Dalton (1987-1989):
Timothy Dalton is a Welsh actor who starred as James Bond in “The Living Daylights” (1987) and “Licence to Kill” (1989), two films released toward the end of the 1980s. Dalton was a well-known stage actor who had also appeared in films like “The Lion in Winter” (1968) and “Flash Gordon” (1980) before playing James Bond.
In contrast to some of his predecessors, Dalton’s portrayal of James Bond was marked by a more serious and reflective approach, with the character pondering moral and loyalty issues. His films were also known for having a darker and more violent tone. One of his best-known works, “License to Kill,” is one of the most intense and brutal Bond movies ever made.
Many fans and critics remarked that Dalton’s Bond films are underrated franchise gems, despite receiving mixed reviews when released. The brooding intensity and dramatic range of Dalton’s films gave the character of James Bond a new dimension, paving the way for subsequent portrayals of the character that were even darker and more complex.
Even though Dalton only appeared in two Bond films, his influence on the series continues. His more nuanced and complex approach to the character helped to broaden the scope of what could be done with a Bond movie, and he will always be remembered as one of the most underappreciated Bond actors.
5. Pierce Brosnan (1995-2002):
Irish actor Pierce Brosnan portrayed James Bond in four films from 1995 to 2002. Brosnan made a name for himself on television in the 1980s when he appeared in the popular series “Remington Steele.” This was before he took on the role of James Bond.
Brosnan’s portrayal of James Bond conveyed the image of a dashing and sophisticated international spy with a suave and sophisticated charm. Brosnan’s performance contributed to cementing the image of James Bond as a stylish and debonair hero, and his films were renowned for their explosive action sequences and high-tech gadgetry.
“GoldenEye” marked the character’s return to the big screen after a six-year hiatus, and “The World Is Not Enough,” which featured a memorable villain in the form of Robert Carlyle’s Renard, are two of Brosnan’s most memorable Bond films.
“Die Another Day,” Brosnan’s final Bond film, received mixed reviews and is frequently criticized for its excessive action and reliance on CGI effects. Despite this, Brosnan’s time as James Bond is still fondly recalled by many series fans, and his status as one of the most recognizable Bond actors has not changed.
6. Daniel Craig (2006-2021):
Since 2006’s “Casino Royale,” English actor Daniel Craig has appeared as James Bond in five films. Craig had earned a name for himself as an accomplished and versatile actor before playing Bond in films like, “Layer Cake” and “Munich.”
The films have eschewed some of the more fantastical aspects of the franchise in favor of a more grounded and character-driven story, and Craig’s portrayal of James Bond has been marked by a grittier and more realistic approach to the character. In a dangerous and unpredictable world, Craig’s Bond is a flawed and complex character who struggles with identity, trust, and loyalty issues.
“Skyfall” (2012), which examines Bond’s relationship with M and features an unforgettable performance by Javier Bardem as the villainous Silva, and “Casino Royale” (2006), which serves as the character’s origin story and includes some of the most intense and thrilling action sequences in the entire franchise, are among Craig’s most acclaimed Bond films.
Although Craig’s time as Bond ended with releasing “No Time to Die” in 2021, he has significantly impacted the franchise. His approach to the more grounded and nuanced character has helped redefine what a Bond movie can be, and he will always be remembered as one of the most memorable and iconic Bond actors.
In conclusion, this list of James Bond Actors in order shows that throughout the James Bond franchise, several talented actors have assumed the iconic role of 007, each bringing their distinct style and approach to the character.
Each actor has shaped the franchise’s enduring legacy, from Sean Connery’s suave and sophisticated charm to Daniel Craig’s intense and gritty role. There is no denying the enduring appeal of this adored spy franchise, regardless of whether you prefer the classic 1960s and 1970s Bond films or the more contemporary and grounded approach of the most recent movies.